Students' Reflections on Communal Learning
At Yew Chung International School of Beijing, we take a communal approach to learning. Our students are taught in Learning Communities. Our Learning Community approach is built around three tenets: teams, time, and tracking. The ‘teams’ tenet means YCIS Beijing Learning Communities are designed with six to eight homeroom teachers and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher on hand for students during their lessons. Our ‘time’ tenet ensures teachers are daily spending time together collaborating on creating effective learning opportunities. Finally, the ‘tracking’ tenet means instructors are carrying out ongoing, authentic assessments of our students, not just summative assessments. This enables us to ensure our students are being appropriately challenged.
YCIS Beijing teachers love our unique, innovative Learning Community approach and how it boosts their ability to collaborate. However, it's our students who benefit the most. We spoke to some of our year 5 students to see what they had to say about our Learning Communities.
What is the biggest difference between your Learning Community at YCIS Beijing and your previous school’s approach to learning?
Being in a learning community can really help me to learn how to work together with other people and collaborate. Because at my old schools I was never really able to do this. Working in Learning Communities here really helps me to collaborate with other people, make friends and I don’t always have to go to teachers for help.
What do you like the most about your Learning Community? Why?
I’m very proud that within my Learning Community I have the chance to collaborate with so many different people. We can work together on our projects. There are times when I get confused with my work. At these times I know I can go to any of my teachers for support. I have so many teachers in my Learning Community. I can go to any of them for help, both English and Chinese speaking.
I like being in a Learning Community because if we need help and we are struggling, we have our peers to help us.
How do you feel the benefits of Learning Communities compare to a more traditional approach?
In my Learning Community, I can collaborate with others. If there’s something I don’t understand, I can ask my partner and teachers.
In my Learning Community, I can create anything. There’s nothing I can’t create, so long as I have my partner to help.
I think... I learn how to collaborate, better. Like, help others and share things.
How do you like to learn in your Learning Community?
The benefit of working in a Learning Community is that you don’t always have to work alone. I mean you can, because it’s your choice, but there are always people around you to help you. You might not know the person at first, but then you get to know them; and well, they can help you.